What would you do for your best friend? Drive them to the airport? Help them move? How about run 170 miles in the Grand to Grand Ultra Marathon? And how about doing that at the age of 72? Meet Gregory Castle, CEO of Best Friends Animal Society and long-time marathon runner who just completed the challenge of a lifetime, all for the lives of his best friends. By running the 7-day, 170 mile marathon from September 21-27, Castle hoped to raise $170,00 for Best Friends Animal Society. Instead, he ran the race in just 6 days and raised over $194,000, all of which will go to saving at-risk animals in shelters and continuing Best Friends’ mission of creating a No-Kill society.
Best Friends Animal Society was founded in 1990 on the dream that one day animals would no longer be killed in America’s shelters. Realizing that 17 million homeless shelter pets were euthanized each year, a group of friends began rescuing these unadoptables, taking them to a safe haven in Utah to heal and eventually find their forever homes. Now, this location five miles outside of Kanab, Utah in Angel Canyon, known as the Sanctuary, is at the heart of Best Friends Animal Society. At any given time, around 1,700 animals live on the 3,700-acre home-between-homes, including dogs, cats, horses, pigs, birds, rabbits and more. While the sanctuary provides a no-kill home to homeless pets, it also provides medical care, training and emotional support to pets that have come from difficult lives. The Sanctuary attracts nearly 30,000 visitors each year and has become the world’s largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals.
Outside of the sanctuary, Best Friends Animal Society has also implemented initiatives to help reduce the amount of unwanted pets through spay/neuter and trap/neuter/return (TNR) programs, and to save the most at-risk animals through such initiatives as the pit bull initiative, which works to overcome breed discrimination and help pit bulls find loving homes. Other programs include the cat initiative and the puppy mill initiative.
All of this and more is what Castle supported with his 170 mile run. While it was a big undertaking, he took it in stride.
“I knew from the start of Best Friends 30 years ago that achieving a No-Kill society was a long distance undertaking,” Castle told DogTime.com. “The challenge that Best Friends faces to Save Them All is just like a marathon. It takes the same kind of meticulous planning and hard work to pull off.”
Though the race is over, Best Friends Animal Society is always accepting donations for their cause. And don’t forget to follow Best Friends Animal Society on Facebook to keep in the know about Best Friends’ great work.
The Jet Set Pets is always looking for worthwhile animal charities to feature. Tell us about your favorite in the comment box below and we may feature it in an upcoming post.